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Interview: Evolver One

2010-07-09 14:24
Producer Nathan Winkler, who’s worked with Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield, came on board for the new album, Evolver One. How did that happen and why him?
We found Nathan through our publicist, we basically had one single that was gonna go to radio and then he kind of worked with that a little bit. He did like a little bit of a revamp, and then we liked what we heard.
Sean: We definitely didn’t want a “yes man” on the producing of the album. He’s more of a pop producer, and I think that’s why we really wanted to get involved with him.

Tell us about the new sound?
We wanted to mature in the music, we didn’t want to have that 70’s signature rock sound, we wanted to kind of steer away from that and try some new things. Adding a pop element to the rock sound we had already was something that we really wanted to do, and I think that’s what Nathan came on board to do. He adapted his ‘popness’ to our ‘rockness’.
Peter: Before the whole thing, we had an idea of what kind of sound we were looking for in a way, we’d go like maybe we want that kind of sound Muse had captured on a record. We’d try and look like at a Musy, mixed with The Killers kind of sound.

A full sound?
BIG SOUND! (chuckle chuckle)
Sean: BIG SOUND! (chuckle chuckle)

The creative process is different for everyone. How did you guys go about it?
We started a writing process where we would be writing songs every week and then go in on a Sunday, where Nathan would look at the songs and we’d like change things up. I think we did about 60 songs and then we dissected some of the ones that were possibilities to use.

So how did you decide on the final songs? Any arguments?
We all kind of went through like a voting process where each song got a certain amount of votes, then it would go on to like maybe demo that and then just always fine tuning the song until we got the last product. There was a lot of debates and stuff you know, that went on ja. I think if you’re gonna make a project, the arguing and that, I think it is quite healthy.
Sean: I think if you’re a proper producer, you are going to be a very difficult person, not to work with, but you know difficult on the product, because to us, if you don’t have a great product there’s no use in starting. And as long as all the arguments were settled and the product was better than we could have done ourselves I didn’t mind having arguments.

The studio is always a challenging experience. What did you learn through working with Nathan?
I learned a lot, I think we all got our little Nathan stories you know. I kind of learned to sing really on this one (chuckles). I got rid of that like ruffy-ness and also I was singing in a certain way for my whole career up to that point, so then it was unlearning like bad little, just things that weren’t really considered professional singing. And the studio is like very unforgiving, so I was like 2 months in there trying to sing!

Project Evolution and charity work. Tell us more.
Peter: We all try to become more socially responsible, I mean I’ve had a drinking problem you know, I’ve battled with that, but like obviously being in the band you gotta step up. I think we’ve all grownup in that aspect, knowing that it’s all about the show and that it’s for the fans.
Sean: The project we got involved with, with Standard bank, we did a song for them for their World Aids Day on the 1st of December, where we changed “Let’s Get Naked” to “Let’s Get Tested”. We had over 4000 people tested in Jo’burg on the 1st of December when we did the campaign. We all got tested as well.
Peter: We’re also helping with child welfare; we’re very involved with the children of this country.
Sean: And we’re not just saying that, we really do give a lot of our time.

Do you think it’s important for bands to do charity work?
I think if it comes from a genuine place then it is ja, you know you can’t just jump on the wagon and say, ok cool are we just gonna do that so we can get some press out of it.

Is there a connection between your new name and Project Evolution?
Yes, its part of the whole thing you know, the one for us, we all play in the band and we come together to create a sound and a product that people can relate to. So from our side we wanted to not become a band that was always looking for the challenge overseas, cause every band sort of goes, “oh well, South Africa sucks, let’s go break America”, as if it’s easy, you know what I mean? We really wanted to be the first band in the country to say, listen this is our home, we’re optimistic about the country, we think it’s a fantastic place to live, let’s help everybody that we can and make a difference.

Musical influences for the new album?
I think just the sound really, the sonic sound, like the production value, we decided what we heard from other bands, like The Killers and Muse.
Sean: We also did do some influences from a band called Pendulum, which was great you know. It’s very sort of drum and bass rock kind of stuff and Nathan introduced us to it and kind of pushed it on us with great enthusiasm!

Personal musical influences?
Mine is definitely Deep Purple, cause I was into 80’s rock which was great, back then! You listen to it now, and you’re like ‘Yoh, I can’t listen to this!’
Peter: I like Jack White and I’m into like The Dead Weather. I’ve always liked him and it’s quite cool how he’s so involved in different projects and stuff. He’s a very talented guy and that’s cool, because I always use to dig people who were like dead, so it’s quite nice to have somebody to look up to that’s still living and breathing.
Tulsa: I think for me The Killers was probably a big influence and I think for the band as well, especially with this record we got a lot of inspiration from them.

The Soccer World Cup. How are you experiencing it and will it have a positive effect?
The World Cup has been magic hey, it’s massive and it can’t be a negative thing. There are a lot of tourists that didn’t know about South Africa and now they do, so we might see a step up in tourism. As Robbie Williams said, “Don’t tell anyone about this place” (chuckles).
Peter: It’s been some highs and lows hey, well game wise anyway. And I guess as well, we’ll see the after effects in maybe 2 months, cause I’m sure there’s a lot of stuff going down that we’ll only find out once it’s gone.
Tulsa: I’m expecting a positive chain in foreign investment, just that awareness opens up all those doors.

Evolver’s Number 1:
Snack when on tour: Biltong, nuts or whatever the fans are giving us!
South African Venue: Barnyard’s and Casino’s (for their great stages)
South African Festival: Cokefest
SA Band: Wrestlerish
International Band: The Killers and The Dead Weather
Soccer Team: Was Ghana, now Holland.
Soccer Paraphernalia: Makarapas: Hand painted from Soweto.

Tours, new singles, videos and conquering Mexico are all in the loop for these guys. Oh yes, and of course visiting Cape Town more often! For more information visit their official website .

*The writer was once the milky part in the Afrikaans band Die Melktert Kommissie.

5 years, 10 kg’s and many a gig ago, I met Evolver One (formerly known as Evolver) on my first BIG tour as an Afrikaans band*. Three bands in a Volkswagen sprinter, the Afrikaans first timers in the cramped front row seats, a dodgy driver called Silas and some very long hours was enough to get some high-five’s all around after such a long time (it’s a musician thing). And Evolver One? 3 albums, 17 national tours and more than 500 shows later, these nice boys have now become even nicer men.
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